Putrajaya's refusal to build an oil refinery in Sabah could prove fatal to Barisan Nasional going into the next general election.
KOTA KINABALU May 17, 2011: Oil-rich Sabah, which houses the country’s poorest people, needs its own refinery and Chief Minister Musa Aman must convince the federal government to get Petronas to build such a facility.
This is the advise set out by Barisan Nasional Sabah coalition partner, Parti Bersatu Sabah.
PBS vice-president Herbert Timbun Lagadan said for Sabahans to truly benefit from the proposed Sabah Oil and Gas Terminal (SOGT) in Kimanis, it was essential that a refinery be built here as well.
“Why can’t Sabah have its own oil refinery when Sarawak has its own?
“Since Sabah is a fixed deposit state for the BN government and a major producer of oil and gas, then surely we possess the merit to ask for the facility to be built here,” he said.
Lagadan said it would be the only way to help local companies to tap into the huge potentials the industry would create.
He said, since the federal government had always touted Sabah as a ‘fixed deposit’ state, it had a right to ask for a refinery to be set up to process oil and gas extracted from its own soil.
Lagadan said the federal government’s decision not to give Sabah its own oil refinery was seen as an attempt to sideline Sabahans and curb their particpation in the oil and gas industry.
“Frankly I cannot understand the federal government’s logic or reason as to why we must siphon gas from Sabah to Bintulu … what saving of cost are they talking about?” asked Lagadan.
This is the second time PBS has voiced its displeasure with Umno-led BN. Last week PBS warned the federal leadership that continuing influx of illegal immigrants will prove fatal to the coalition.
Another BN partner Upko had also voiced their disappointment at the federal government’s decision to allow Petronas to build the gas pipeline to send gas to Bintulu.
Party president Bernard Dompok said the SOGT project was useless and not beneficial to Sabahans.
Opposition Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) has also rejected the gas pipeiline idea calling it ‘ironic and unnecessary’.
Party president and former chief minister Yong Teck Lee said Sabah should not be sending gas to Sarawak only to buy it back for fuelling the power plants needed to address its electricity woes.
According to mysarawak blogsite, natural gas from Kimanis will be piped through a RM1.6 billion 500km pipeline to Petronas’s LNG complex in Bintulu.
The complex, with a production capacity of 25 million tonnes per annum, is one of the biggest of its kind in the world and exports LNG to three lucrative markets, namely Japan, South Korea and China.
With Sabah in need of the product to run its power plants, there were concerns that the state may have to compete with these international buyers, who are able to offer much higher prices.